Years ago, I got sucked into the Extreme Home Makeover show. Oh yeah. We watched it from its opening episode, and then we were regular viewers. You have to understand that this was the. only. television. we. watched. Ever. Our family of seven owned ONE TV, and it was a portable little thing with a 12 inch screen and it weighed half a ton. It had a built-in VCR, and we stored it in the closet. We only pulled it out when we had a thousand-mile road trip to go visit family... or to watch Extreme Home Makeover.
But every Sunday night, we'd haul the little gray box out of the closet, hook up the bunny ear antenna, and gather 'round. We didn't seem to mind crowding all of us in front of that little screen. It was a bonding experience, I'm sure.
We loved the show. We loved the happy endings and feeling like we were helping to help people. We may have even made a cheesy video to send in and have our house redone, but if we did I won't admit it.
After a while, the feel-good didn't feel so good. It seemed like the show became more about how wild and extravagant the new house could become and less about the helping. And after I watched it, I'd look at my own house and feel discouraged. No matter how hard I cleaned or organized our little 2,000 square foot house, it was somehow never as glitzy as what I had just seen on the TV. My house seemed to get smaller and dingier and more dated. I wasn't happy with my own home when it was in constant comparison with Hollywood. I needed a show spotlighting homes in third-world countries. Really.
So I quit watching. It took some time, but my house got a little bit bigger. Then Jay died and it was bigger still, and sometimes a bit too empty in places. I moved out of the master bedroom and into the smallest room in the basement because I didn't want the blank spaces.
Years later, I married Trent and his stuff. (Funny, I don't remember committing to his stuff during the wedding ceremony, but everyone comes with stuff.) He needed an office (An entire room for yourself? Why?), and the littlest bedroom was now too small for the two of us. Soon, the Angel appeared, and now the house really was too small.
Recently, I decided (much to the embarrassment of a few of the big boys) to watch my first episode of Hoarders. I thought that if the home makeover show made me feel bad about my home, then the pack rat show ought to make my house look amazing!
Sometimes these over-full corners and piles of things seem to disappear, and you don't see them anymore. Although I was chagrined to not see better about my house, I am glad that I see places where I can do some work. So now I'm decluttering. And it feels good. And it looks good. Gotta go take another load to the thrift store!
Maybe some other time I'll write about the difficulties a minimalist (me) runs into when living with a collector (um... someone else). But not today.